Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Turkish army announces encirclement of Syria's Afrin city

Turkish army announces encirclement of Syria's Afrin city

In a statement on Tuesday, the Turkish military said it had completed the encirclement of the city of Afrin, home to some 350,000 people and defended by a well-armed Syrian Kurdish militia, the People's Protection Units (YPG).

Cavusoglu said Tuesday that Turkey and the United States would decide on a plan for the process during talks scheduled for March 19, but said Turkish forces would carry out a military operation if the discussions fail.

This photo released February 21, 2018 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows a convoy of militiamen loyal to the Syrian government on their way to aid the Kurds against Turkish forces, in the northern city of Afrin, Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday that the evacuations are expected to begin "within hours" under United Nations supervision.

On Monday, Turkish army and FSA fighters advanced from different directions towards the Afrin city center, and the military announced only 1.5 km away from the city.

Azad Mohamed, a 32-year old resident, said his relatives were fired upon as they tried to escape Monday, forcing them to turn back.

Syrian government forces have split eastern Ghouta in two amid rapid weekend advances, dealing a major setback to the rebels and threatening to exacerbate an already dire humanitarian situation at the doorstep of Damascus.

A truck bearing electronic billboards, rented by the terrorist group's supporters who gathered to protest in front of the United Nations headquarters in NY, drove around the city's streets with images captured by Turkey's official Anadolu Agency in Aleppo in 2016, at the height of Assad regime attacks to recapture the country's once-largest city after it was divided in two between regime and opposition forces in early 2012.

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Backed by Russian Federation, the advance has battered Eastern Ghouta with air strikes, artillery and rocket fire, raising widespread global concern and prompting urgent calls for a ceasefire.

The Red Crescent was preparing on Tuesday to evacuate more people in desperate need of medical care through a humanitarian corridor established by the regime and its ally Russian Federation.

Haley said the Security Council's previous cease-fire agreement, which came into effect last month, had "failed".

An AFP reporter at the checkpoint saw Syrian Arab Crescent ambulances on standby.

Worldwide efforts to end the offensive have largely failed. The Syrian regime's campaign to crush a popular uprising in 2011 plunged the country into civil war.

At least 353,935 people have died since, including more than 106,000 civilians, according to the Observatory.

The Syrian government meanwhile said troops had seized control of Qadam after militants and civilians were evacuated from the district south of Damascus.

Syrian troops have used siege tactics in several areas, sealing off rebel-held territory and pressing a military operation before securing an evacuation deal.

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